The league’s all-time leading scorer and one of the all-time best stories in the history of America are going to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
A seven-man class was chosen to the Hall Saturday, with one at least moderate surprise keeping the class from being larger.
Kicker Morten Andersen, quarterback Kurt Warner, running backs Terrell Davis and LaDainian Tomlinson and defensive end Jason Taylor were the five modern-era candidates to emerge from a nearly nine-hour meeting.
They will be joined by seniors committee candidate Kenny Easley and Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, who entered in the contributor committee. But former commissioner Paul Tagliabue failed to get the required 80 percent of the vote, and was not elected. Tagliabue becomes the first contributor candidate to fail to reach the Hall, and it’s the second time he’s reached an 80 percent yes-no vote and failed to make it (it happened when he was a modern era candidate in 2007).
Since then, only three seniors candidates (Dick Stanfel in 2012, Claude Humphrey in 2009 and Marshall Goldberg in 2008) had failed to get the 80 percent, and two of them (Stanfel and Humphrey) were elected in second chances as seniors.
Tagliabue might not get another chance, after his candidacy was discussed for over an hour early in the process.
It was a breakthrough for Andersen, who is just the second kicker in the Hall along with Jan Stenerud (though Lou Groza and George Blanda also kicked).
For Warner, getting in during his third year as a finalist caps a career which began in the Arena League and NFL Europe and ended with a pair of MVP honors, as he orchestrated one of the greatest offenses ever with the Rams, and then had a productive second act with the Cardinals, getting them to a Super Bowl.
Davis was also rewarded for a career that burned bright for a short time, as injuries derailed a career that saw him carry John Elway to a pair of Super Bowl titles.
Tomlinson and Taylor were in their first year of eligibility.
Wide receiver Terrell Owens, tackle Joe Jacoby, coach Don Coryell, wide receiver Isaac Bruce and guard Alan Faneca were reduced in the first cut from 15 to 10. Jacoby and Coryell made the final 10 last year but took a step back.
This year’s six-through-10 picks who become contenders next year include safeties Brian Dawkins and John Lynch, tackle Tony Boselli, cornerback Ty Law and center Kevin Mawae.
But next year will bring a star-studded cast of first-timers to eligibility, including Randy Moss, Ray Lewis and Brian Urlacher, among others.